The Head of Public Affairs of the Ghana Cocoa Board, (COCOBOD), Fiifi Boafo, has lamented the effects of smuggling in the country’s cocoa sector.
According to him, this is due to the low pricing of cocoa in the country.
His comments come on the back of the recent operation by an anti-smuggling task force that intercepted over 1500 bags of smuggled cocoa beans.
“It is serious. At the beginning of the year, we have been concerned about the possibility of smuggling. It is quite a common thing to have people cross borders to go and sell cocoa. Over the years it’s because we have better prices as compared to our neighbouring countries,” he is quoted by citinewsroom.com.
Fiifi Boafo however emphasized that if the act continues, the COCOBOD may lose a lot of revenue.
“If cocoa beans are smuggled across the border, then there will not be any revenue for COCOBOD, and it appears a sizeable amount of cocoa will be lost to these smuggling activities,” he added.
The COCOBOD has therefore noted that since the act is being perpetrated by foreigners, it is liaising with neighbouring countries to address the issue.
“We have realized that now it has gone beyond the border towns, where people in Accra are also smuggling. The challenge now is that we have foreigners engaged in this business now who repackaged it in a way you would not know that the content is cocoa and get it out of town. That is the challenge we have now. The foreigners have given the smugglers a window to be cash in so the farmer is not getting anything.
“We are collaborating with Ivory Coast for better results. Apart from that, we do not have a strong relationship with Togo, so it doesn’t help that much. One of the things we are also doing is that the people who see and report, we give them two-thirds of the value of the cocoa, so it has incentivized people to give us information,” Fiifi Boafo further added.